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News and notes from Caps' 5-3 win over Jets


News and notes from Caps' 5-3 win over Jets

News and notes as the Capitals look back on Wednesday night’s 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets and head to Friday’s 5 p.m. showdown with the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Calm Tom: Fourth-line right wing Tom Wilson played just under 12 minutes, took one shot, delivered four hits and blocked two shots in the Caps’ win over the Jets, but it was the restraint he showed in a first-period battle with Winnipeg defenseman Dustin Byfuglien that drew the praise of his coach and teammates.

Wilson was drilled into the Winnipeg net by Byfuglien late in the first period with the Caps trailing 2-1. But instead of chasing Byfuglien down the ice he picked himself up and skated to his bench, drawing an interference penalty that lewd to Alex Ovechkin’s power-play goal.

“That’s good discipline by Tom,” Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said. “He sucked it up and we got a PP there.”

Trotz said he’s seeing a lot of maturity from his 21-year-old winger.

“Last year, maybe the year before, Tom Wilson is going to the box,” Trotz said. “And that was a huge goal. He got under the skin of one of their top players and we respond and tie the game up. It got them rattled a little bit.”

Caps goalie Braden Holtby said Wilson is learning the fine art of balancing aggression and restraint.

“It’s big,” Holtby said. “I don’t know if Willy in the past would have done that. It’s good. It’s showing maturity. I think he knows he has a bigger role on the team now.

“He plays more minutes, kills penalties. We need him on the ice more than in the penalty box and he realizes that. He’s playing a really hard physical game and getting the other team off their game.”

Kuz-tastic: Evgeny Kuznetsov now has five three-point games this season, two in the last three games. He has earned nine points in his last seven games.

Snarly: Caps defenseman Dmitry Orlov has scored in three straight games and has earned a point in four consecutive games, marking his career-long point streak.

Passing Langway: Defenseman John Carlson (204 points) earned two assists Wednesday night, passing Rod Langway (202) for eighth place on the Capitals franchise list for points by a defenseman . Carlson has 49 goals and 155 assists in 419 career games and now sits 67 points shy of passing Sylvain Cote (270) for seventh on the all-time list.

Other Willy: Justin Williams has scored a goal in four of his last seven games  and has 14 points in his last 17 games.

Nice start: The Capitals improved to 15-5-1 (31 points) this season, marking the team’s second best start in franchise history. Washington posted a 16-5-0 record (32 points) through 21 games in 1991-92.

Home ice: The Caps are 9-3-1 at home this season and are 3-1-0 on their five-game homestand, which ends on Friday. The Caps have earned a point in seven of their last eight games at home (6-1-1) and are 9-1-0 when scoring first and 9-0-0 when leading after two periods.

“We know how to play them now,” Backstrom said of tight games. “We did a pretty good job last season and in the playoffs as well. It’s really important in today’s hockey.”

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2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL


2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL

The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.

Meet the newest prospects:

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pounds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: F Eric Florchuk, WHL, 6'2", 174 pounds

Florchuk was taken with the last pick of the draft.


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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”